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Biamp Systems

Linking two TesiraFORTÉ DAN units together

With the introduction of the TesiraFORTÉ DAN, it is possible to utilize the Dante protocol in the TesiraFORTÉ line of products. While the TesiraFORTÉ DAN is primarily intended to be used in smaller systems where only one TesiraFORTÉ is required, it is still possible to use multiple TesiraFORTÉ DANs in a single system. Such systems will require some additional considerations, and this article discusses the important things to consider when using more than one TesiraFORTÉ DAN in a single Tesira system.

Design and commissioning considerations

Additional configurations will be needed during the initial design and commissioning phases of a system containing multiple TesiraFORTÉ DAN units due to the fact that, unlike AVB, Dante cannot be routed implicitly. Implicit AVB routing allows the compiler in Tesira to handle jumps between devices automatically (indicated by changing the signal path to a dashed blue line in the Tesira software once compiled). With Dante, routing must be done manually through the use of a third-party Dante Controller software, which behaves essentially as a matrix mixer for Dante audio streams.

Bear in mind that the Tesira software's persistent signal path identifier will not function across a Dante jump, and that the system also will not be able to automatically calculate network based delay. Because of this, special attention should be paid to system design to ensure proper routing and configuration. When tuning the room, some delay may need to be added to non-Dante channels in order to synchronize them with the Dante channels.

Network considerations

When combining two TesiraFORTÉ Dan models together, there are some networking considerations to keep in mind:

  • The TesiraFORTÉ DAN line can support up to 32 channels in and 32 channels out (as opposed to the full 64 channels that the Tesira SERVER-IO's DAN-1 card can support).
  • All Dante devices in the system will need to be linked on the Dante network.
  • Each TesiraFORTÉ DAN has a single Dante port through which it will handle all Dante I/O blocks for third-party devices, as well as Dante flows between any Tesira/TesiraFORTÉ devices.
  • Dante cannot be used for control traffic. Because of this, the TesiraFORTÉ DAN units will need to have their Control Ethernet ports linked, as well. The Control ports can be linked on a separate switch from the Dante ports.
  • Remote expanders and rack-mount expanders for Tesira cannot be used in this type of system, as TesiraFORTÉ DAN devices do not support AVB.
  • Setting up this system will require the use of Dante Controller software. This is a third-party software used for routing Dante audio flows on a network. You can find a copy of the software here.

Programming the Tesira layout file

1.    In the Tesira layout, it will be necessary to explicitly designate a location for Dante audio to flow from one unit to the other. In the example below, a Dante Output has been added for Unit 2 to transmit audio flows from the TesiraFORTÉ DAN to the Dante network. A Dante Input block has then been added for Unit 1 to receive audio from the Dante network. Which audio flows this input will receive is selected in the Dante Controller software, the process for which will be shown later in this article.

Note in the above example that we must explicitly choose in the Tesira configuration where the Dante jump between units will take place. In order for the 6 Dante inputs from Unit 2 to be included in the 18-channel Gating Auto Mixer that resides in Unit 1, the audio from Unit 2 must be manually routed over Dante to enter Unit 1. If you attempt to draw a line directly from the inputs in unit 2 to the Gating Auto Mixer in unit 1 without going through Dante blocks, the file will not successfully compile.

2.    It will also be necessary to route the audio from Unit 1 back to Unit 2. Otherwise, AEC will not function correctly in Unit 2.

In the image above, audio has been routed from Unit 1 back to Unit 2's local room outputs on the output side of the matrix. This will ensure that the outputs of Unit 2 will still receive the necessary audio signals, and that the AEC Reference on Unit 2 will have the VoIP Receive audio from Unit 1 routed to it.

3.    Once all desired Dante audio is successfully routed to both units in the Tesira layout, it will be necessary to ensure that the Dante flows do not exceed Dante channel limits for the TesiraFORTÉ DAN units (32 in x 32 out). Based on the two images above, Unit 1 is using the following:

  • 12 channels (primary Dante Input block for microphones)
  • 6 channels (secondary Dante Input receiving audio from Unit 2)
  • Total Dante Input channels = 18
     
  • 9 channels (Dante Output for transmitting audio back to Unit 2)
  • Total Dante Output channels = 9

...and Unit 2 is using the following:

  • 6 channels (primary Dante Input block for microphones)
  • 9 channels (secondary Dante Input block receiving audio from Unit 1)
  • Total Dante Input channels = 15
     
  • 6 channels (Dante Output for transmitting audio to Unit 1)
  • Total Dante Output channels = 6

Both units are within the stated limits for Dante I/O channels, so there is no need to adjust the design of this system further.

Optional step: Renaming flows

When routing Dante audio flows in the Dante Controller software, each flow will be labeled according to its channel name. When multiple devices are being used and multiple flows will be transmitted and received between the devices, renaming the default Dante audio flows to something more immediately identifiable can make it easier to route the flows within Dante Controller.

IMPORTANT: Do not attempt to change flow names from within the Dante Controller software. Changes made there are not reported back to the Tesira software, and can cause the Dante network to stop functioning. Make all changes to Dante flows names within the Tesira software only.

To rename a Dante channel, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on a Dante block and select Properties to open the Properties sheet on the side of the screen
  2. Select the DSP Properties tab
  3. Find the Channel Name field. Editing this will edit the Dante flow's name on the network

Additional information on naming Dante flows can be found in this article.

Routing Dante

Before Dante routing can be configured in Dante Controller, the Tesira configuration file must first be sent through to the TesiraFORTÉ DAN devices. Once the configuration file has been loaded, the Dante flows created by the Tesira system should be discoverable in the Dante Controller software.

Routing Dante flows in Dante Controller is a simple matter of selecting the desired crosspoints of inputs and outputs, just like in a matrix mixer. Below is the same configuration file that has been built in this article, as it appears in Dante Controller.

Note that Unit 2's Dante Outputs are being routed to Unit 1's Dante Inputs as a one-to-one matrix (i.e., Dante Output 1 from Unit 2 goes to Dante Input 1 on Unit 1, and so on). The additional Dante Inputs seen in this example are from third-party Dante microphones.

Once the Dante channels have been routed in Dante Controller, peak meters will show the microphone audio coming in over Dante to Unit 2, then moving over the Dante network and being received by Unit 1.

A more in depth example of routing Dante flows via Dante controller can be found in this Dante article.

Sample files

Below are some sample files for integrating two TesiraFORTÉ DAN units together. All examples are using a TesiraFORTÉ DAN VI and TesiraFORTÉ DAN CI.

Further reading

The following articles provide further, important details about utilizing Dante in general, as well as specific information for integrating Shure MXA310 and MXA910 microphones.

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